The Lost City
Out now on Blu-ray is The Lost City, an adventure comedy starring Sandra Bullock as a successful romance novel author trying to stay relevant in a TikTok world. She’s also an academic, and Abigail Fairfax (played by Daniel Radcliffe) wants her knowledge of the ancient civilization she used as background for her latest book. He kidnaps her to find the Crown of Fire, a lost artifact in a tomb of a lost city.
Channing Tatum is her cover model, who feels a little too much connection to the character he portrays. When she’s kidnapped, he sets out to rescue her.
I wanted to see this because I loved Romancing the Stone. The concept here is very similar; it has a lot in common in terms of characters and premise. But that movie had adventure and heart. This … has a brittle-acting Sandra Bullock in a low-cut sequined fuchsia jumpsuit.
In RtS, Kathleen Turner’s author was wistful, dreaming of romance and accomplishment, out of her league but game to do what she needed. In this, Bullock’s character is distracted, harangued about sales figures and forced into every scene. She fights things the whole way, which makes everything feel uncomfortable, instead of adventurous.
There is no humor. By that I mean, I didn’t laugh. There are attempts. Some are tacky, such as the mentions of the Lost City of D “exposing itself” etc. Slapstick involves them escaping with Bullock before cutting her free from the chair she’s tied to. Although there is romance, in this movie, it feels like an afterthought, with the focus here on the “comedy”.
Tatum has better luck playing a pampered model trying to become a man of action. Brad Pitt, playing an actual tough guy and providing contrast, livens up the film about a half-hour in, but his presence is unfortunately cut short. (It’s less than 10 minutes of screen time.) You do get to see Tatum’s character’s butt, if that’s enough of an incentive to check this out.
The extras are a lot of electronic press kit stuff, superficial statements about the filming interspersed with clips. A bunch of deleted scenes suggest some trouble in putting the film into its final form. At the end of the one on “The Jumpsuit“, Bullock says “this jumpsuit is probably the lead character of this film,” which is accurate, if sad. (The studio provided a review copy.)